8 Nursing Interview Questions and Answers for RMNs
No matter where you’re at in your career, getting a new job means having to show a new employer what you’re made of. And, when you’re an RMN, how you work and fit within the team can be just as important as what’s on your CV. Like it or not, the interview process will often be the deciding factor on whether you make the big move or stay where you are.
To give you a leg-up for your next interview, we’ve put together a list of the top nursing interview questions and answers so you can be as prepared as you can be on the day.
Tips for Answering Interview Questions
The easiest way for hiring managers to know what you’ll be like in your new role is to ask for examples from your current or previous roles. Gone are the days when people got jobs based on lofty, hypothetical answers to weird questions (they don’t care what your spirit animal is and why anymore). These days, you’ll need to show substance and come ready with examples to back it up.
It’s all about putting together an arsenal of answers that showcase your best qualities and technical skills based on your experience. We often advise our candidates to answer each question using the STAR technique, which can help you get your head around your responses:
This may come naturally to you if you’re lucky, but there’s nothing wrong with really spelling it out as part of your interview if it helps you lay out your answers. For example, start your response with “Let me provide some background first” then move on to “and then I was asked to,” “this is what I did” and “this is what happened”.
Remember to use the word “I” not “we”. There’s no “I” in team but there are two in “interview”, and now is not the time to be modest! So, unless it’s a question around teamwork, you need to show exactly what your role was in a specific situation and explain how you made a positive impact.
Lastly, remember that this isn’t Newsnight and you’re not a politician – it’s okay to take a moment to mull over your answer if you need to.
Common Nursing Interview Questions for RMNs and How to Answer Them
Most interview questions are put together based on the skills and competencies needed to perform the role well. Some of these are even included in the job description so we recommend you go through it with a fine-tooth comb as part of your preparation and pick out any technical or soft skills mentioned. Of course, if you’re partnering with a nursing recruiter, they will help you with any required prep. For RMNs, it will often be based on things like demonstrating empathy, teamwork, communication skills, resilience, knowledge of mental health and illness, and experience working on a variety of cases.
1. What attracted you to apply for this role?
Okay, so before cracking into the behavioural questions, you might be asked this one as a warmup. It’s a motivational question, which means the hiring manager wants to understand your reasons for leaving your current job and why you think you’re a good match for the new role.
By doing your research and preparing well, you should be able to breeze through this question and get the interview off to a great start.
I’ve been with my current employer for three years and am really looking for a new challenge. I’ve always been impressed with (insert hospital name here’s) XYZ’s state-of-the-art facilities and their commitment to patient care. It’s also important for me at this stage of my career to work with a facility that values professional development because I’d like to grow with the next organisation I join.
2. What is your greatest strength as an RMN?
It may be tempting to jump straight into a list of clichés, but this should be an answer that comes from the heart. Have a think back to your performance reviews with previous managers, or times when you’ve had great feedback from patients or their families. Try to weave those examples into your response so that you’re providing evidence rather than just rattling off buzzwords that tick boxes.
I’ve been told that my greatest strength is my ability to build instant rapport with new patients. I think the way I achieve this is by applying a mix of active listening, empathy and compassion. Once I have a full understanding of my patient’s problems and needs, I put together their care plan and talk them through it, answering any questions they might have. A recent example of this is where <insert example that backs up your approach using the STAR method>.
3. Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult patient. How did you handle it?
This is an ideal question for applying the STAR technique. You can acknowledge that difficult patients come with the territory and that in general, you try to demonstrate patience, tolerance and compassion at all times. Again, you need to show that you walk your talk, so make sure you back it up with a strong example from your working history.
For me, the most important thing you can do when dealing with a difficult person, whether it’s a patient, a carer or a colleague, is try to get them to calmly talk you through the problem. That way you can find a mutually beneficial outcome. I recently had a situation where <insert example that shows how fantastic you are at your job>.
4. What do you find most rewarding about working as an RMN?
Our biggest hint here is to think about why you are being asked this question. It has two purposes – one is around cultural fit and trying to see if you would work well as part of the current team. The other is to help your future manager get a better idea of how to motivate you once you’re on the job. This is a positive question, so be honest and let your personality shine through so they can see what kind of RMN you are!
Being an RMN is a challenging role when you consider that we’re working with vulnerable people who need our help and support. But the reward of watching a patient work through their care plan and make leaps forward in their recovery is worth all the long hours and paperwork. I remember feeling most proud when a patient of mine <insert example here>.
5. How would you respond if a patient wasn’t satisfied with the care provided by you/a colleague?
A question like this is looking for you to show your know-how and understanding of internal procedures within a healthcare facility. It’s not necessarily about trying to resolve the issue yourself but instead knowing when to escalate things through the appropriate chain.
I think it’s important to understand the process for handling and escalating complaints within each particular healthcare facility. That way, you have a full understanding of where the line sits between you trying to resolve the issue yourself or referring it to a supervisor. I remember one time when a patient’s family wasn’t happy with an interaction they had <insert example>.
6. Describe a situation where you went above and beyond to help a patient. What did you take from that experience?
The moment you’ve been waiting for (or perhaps dreading a little); it’s time to toot your own horn – #humblebrag! Hopefully, you have a treasure trove of these experiences saved up in your memory bank, not just to help with interview questions but because they are some of your career highlights. Just be sure to stick with the STAR format and answer the full question, including what you learned and how you applied that learning in the future.
I like to think that I provide quality care to each and every one of my patients. However, there is one patient who will always stick out in my mind because it was early in my career and made a profound impact on how I’ve dealt with patients ever since. I was working in a drug rehabilitation facility and had a patient who <insert example that proves you’re a superstar>.
7. Give me an example of a time when you struggled to communicate something to your patient. How did you manage to get your message across?
Communication is always going to be a key skill needed to be a good RMN, so your interviewer wants to know how well you can think on your feet and your flexibility as a communicator. By answering this question well, you’re also able to demonstrate patience and compassion.
Working as an RMN, you deal with people from all walks of life and across a range of different socio-economic profiles. I’ve learned that there isn’t a single way to communicate with people, and that you have to adapt your style to suit your patient. For example, in my current job, <insert example>.
8. Do you have any questions for me?
It’s easy to think this is a trick question but it’s not. It’s your chance to clarify any grey areas about the interview process, what the next steps are and when you should expect to hear something. It can also show your level of interest in the role if you ask specifics about the position or the team you would be joining.
Can you tell me a bit about the size of the team I’d be joining and what the reporting structure looks like?
I’d be interested to understand what the next steps are in the interview process and when you’d be looking to have someone join the team.
Our team here at WESolutions are nurse recruitment specialists and are ready to help you find, and most importantly secure, your next RMN role.
We work with RMNs right across the UK and are on-hand to give you tips on how to deliver the ideal interview for your dream job. Drop us a line today to get started.